The virtual Mycota provides an interface to descriptions and images on New
Zealand's fungi, data also available through the NZFungi web pages. To access
data in NZFungi requires knowledge about the name of a fungus. The virtual
Mycota provides simple keys, and sets of images for quick visual comparisons,
allowing a nonexpert in fungi to more easily access data about an unknown
fungus. Links from the species names of the fungi included in the virtual
Mycota open the NZFungi page for the same species. The NZFungi page provides
additional information on the nomenclature of the fungus, its distribution
within New Zealand, cultures and specimens in collections, bibliography, etc.
The aim of these pages is to provide access to the published information
available for the fungi of New Zealand in a 'flora-like' format. Although
Landcare Research has recently initiated a series Fungi of New Zealand/Nga
Harore o Aotearoa, to provide a published flora for New Zealand's fungi, it
will be many years before more than a tiny proportion of our fungi are treated.
New Zealand also has very few field guide-like books on fungi. Most of the
published information on New Zealand's fungi is in the scientific literature,
and therefore is widely scattered and often available only through specialist
libraries. The NZFungi database has gathered this information together, and it
is presented through both the NZFungi and virtual Mycota web pages. One
disadvantage of this approach it that the data provided for the various species
is wildly inconsistent in content and style.
Not all of the species in NZFungi have been treated in the virtual Mycota. These
pages concentrate on the larger, fleshy fungi - the kind of fungi most likely
to be of interest to non-mycologists, and the kind of fungi most easily
indentifed without the aid of a microscope.
Two groups of 'microfungi' have been treated, the rusts and the smuts. These two
groups are important plant pathogens, and although the fungus might be small,
the disease symptoms produced are often highly visible.
Depending on demand, more groups of fungi will be added progressively to the
The virtual Mycota has been compiled with the assistance of the TFBIS programme
of the Department of Conservation. This assistance has allowed the addition of
copies of published descriptions of many fungi (both microfungi and macrofungi)
to the NZFungi database. An effort has been made to treat as many of the fungal
species first described from New Zealand as possible (i.e. those with a New
Zealand type specimen). With time, descriptions will be provided for all fungi
recorded from New Zealand. The TFBIS funding has also allowed the development
of the virtual Mycota web interface, making the NZFungi data on the more
conspicuous species more accessible to non-experts.